India to take up incursion issue with Chinese Premier

NEW DELHI, May 9:  India will take up with Chinese Premier Le Keqiang the issue of the recent intrusion by the People’s Liberation Army troops into Depsang valley in Ladakh and wants to push ahead with the bilateral dialogue on settling the border row.

Official sources said today that the the recent standoff over the Chinese intrusion will be taken up with the Premier when he will be here later this month.

By then India would have had the benefit of the consultations External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid would have had with the Chinese leaders on this and other issues during his on-going trip to Beijing, the sources said.

Explaining how New Delhi tackled the recent standoff along the Line of Actual Control, the sources said they were completely at a loss to understand the motives and design behind the Chinese at a time when leaders of both the countries were to exchange bilateral visits and there was complete cordiality in relations.

However, they maintained that India stood its ground and made it amply clear to the Chinese side that status quo as of April 15 (rpt April 15) must be restored and that the Chinese troops must withdraw unconditionally.

The sources denied reports that an army bunker was removed in Chumar area as a concession for the withdrawal of Chinese troops. They maintained that just a tin shed in the area was removed adding, “our bunkers are elsewhere”.

The sources denied there was any quid pro quo or deal in getting the Chinese agree to withdrawal of its intruding troops in Depsang valley.

They said after the Chinese intrusion Indians also “matched them” by erecting a couple of tents.  “We indulged in a straight talk that both sides will maintain status quo (as it existed before April 15) on the LAC and that peace and tranquility should be maintained,” they said.

The sources said the Indians came to know of the intrusion in six hours flat and started working on the issue to get the Chinese withdraw from there at the earliest.

India, they said, was much better prepared along the LAC now compared to a few years ago.  There are Advanced Landing Helipads  (ALHs) and a number of roads.  “We always catch up,” they said referring to the fact that the Chinese were much advanced in the area of infrastructure.

Asked why  India did not try to cut off supplies for the intruding troops, they said the  whole plan was to maintain status quo and not to trap them (troops) by cutting off supplies.

To a question on what were the lessons learnt from the intrusion episode and the remedial steps being planned, they said “it will have to be decided whether you need to add to whatever we have (on the LAC) and strengthen it”.

The sources said the Chinese behaviour was strange when accosted with the intrusion.  They wonder what was the problem and maintained  it was a ‘local’ issue.  They did not anticipate the sharp reaction from the government, media and Parliament and other sections. (AGENCIES)